Though there are many directions we might go this year, we have to start with moving forward.
But I like the simplicity of January 1. There’s something freeing about knowing I haven’t gotten off course yet. Life comes at us and turns things upside-down, and we can’t do much about it. So here at the very beginning of the year, I like looking at what I’d like to accomplish, how I’d like to think and function, and make a plan.
And then recognize it’s highly unlikely things will go to plan.
But today? Let’s not worry about that.
Let’s talk goals.
I find setting goals refreshing. I try to use the SMART goal method so that my goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. In this writing business, it’s a bit hard for me to gauge in that this will be my first year writing full time. Last Spring semester I was still teaching, so was dividing my time (and mind) for the first four months of the year. After that, we moved from Germany to the US, and let’s just say that the hangover that comes from an overseas move is a lingering one.
But back to goals. This year, here are a few of my goals:
1. Publish 3 books. (First one coming at you in just over a month!)
2. Write at least 3 books (I’d like to write 4, but I’m hedging a bit here to account for our next move, coming this summer)
3. Maintain a healthy fitness and nutrition routine while writing! I’m noticing this is very difficult when I’m writing first drafts because my whole brain wants to focus on the creating part, but I’m also seeing what a toll sitting for hours and hours all day and wanting comfort food takes (duh). I’ll be relying on my Beachbody accountability group for help with that, and I’m really excited. It has been a long time since I’ve made a goal about health and fitness because it has admittedly been pretty automatic, but since we moved back to the US, I’ve fallen off course and I can feel it. I’m ready to feel strong and healthy mentally and physically.
4. Take a writer’s retreat before mid-May.
5. Join my local chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America) when we get to our next duty station. I’m used to working from home—have been doing that since 2013. But writing is a strangely lonely business, and I need people. I have some great online communities, but my goal in 2019 is to find humans I can sit in a room and talk with who know the ups and downs of writing life. Ideally, I’ll find a mentor. Dreamy, right?
Those are the most writing related, if that can be parsed out. A few others in no particular order:
-Try a new, challenging recipe at least once per month
-Read 150 books
-Develop basic skill level in Spanish with regular use of DuoLingo and ideally attending a local Spanish language conversations group.
-Re-establish my spiritual discipline of reading the Word daily.
-Take at least 4 business-related webinars or courses (online or in person)
I tend to make goals for every aspect of my life, and sometimes that’s overwhelming, but usually it gives me peace of mind—I feel focused when we get back to work and the routine crushes in. Some things fall by the wayside, but I view that as clarifying more than anything. I’d argue it’s ok to set a goal that you fail to attain—failure isn’t what keeps us from succeeding at accomplishing our goals. As so many smart minds tell us, never starting is the bigger issue.
So this is me, starting 2019.
I do like the idea of thinking of a single word to think about over the year, but haven’t landed on one just yet—I’ll be sure to update here if I do. In the mean time, I’d love to hear about your goals, or even how you approach the beginning of the year.
Happy New Year!